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Hydrophobicity and Flocculation

Understanding the roles between hydrophobicity and settling/flocculation

Hydrophobicity has been reported as one of the factors that may affect the flocculation potential and settleability of dispersed bacterial species, bench-scale activated sludge (with synthetic influent) and biomass samples from a number of wastewater systems. The understanding of the roles between hydrophobicity and settling/flocculation has been studied previously. However, a thorough understanding of biomass surface properties such as the hydrophobicity and surface charge is needed in full-scale wastewater treatment systems as opposed to laboratory bench-top reactors. According to our data collected from many conventional activated sludge systems from the United States, hydrophobicity may be one of the most important factors affecting floc stability/compactness, settling and supernatant clarity of the biomass.

India Ink Stain

As shown by the above picture, hydrophobicity may directly affect the floc compactness (indicated by India ink stain).

Due to the potential effect of hydrophobicity on floc compactness, settleability and supernatant clarity, EBS is currently evaluating the use of hydrophobicity as another parameter in assessing the overall health and visibility of our clients’ biomass.